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Hello, thanks for your question.
The Know Your Chances – Other Types of Sex chart you’re talking about includes masturbation (i.e. pleasuring oneself) as a type of sex where STI/HIV transmission is not passed. This means if one person is touching themselves there is no transmission of STIs. This may be obvious for some, but is included in the chart for completeness.
You’re correct that hand jobs and fingering are included in the chart to show potential risk to the receiver (not the giver).
Mutual masturbation is considered a low risk activity. The important thing to be aware of is fluid exchange. A bit of pre-cum on your hands is okay, even if it gets on the shaft of you/ your partner’s penis, but you want to avoid getting any pre-cum or ejaculate on the head/ urethral opening of the penis. The urethral opening is an entry point into the body, and HIV/STIs can be passed if pre-cum or ejaculate gets inside.
As far as Herpes, mutual masturbation is very low risk. Herpes is passed through skin-to-skin rubbing when having oral or rectal sex. They can also be passed with genital to genital rubbing. Given this if there was penis to penis rubbing it could happen, but if they were just touching with their hands that’s not the best way for herpes to pass.
Hope this helps. Please leave a comment below or submit another question for further clarification.
This answer was posted on March 20, 2017